Scenario Development as a Basis for Formulating a Research Program on Future Agriculture: A Methodological Approach
Review article, 2013

To increase the awareness of society to the challenges of global food security, we developed five contrasting global and European scenarios for 2050 and used these to identify important issues for future agricultural research. Using a scenario development method known as morphological analysis, scenarios were constructed that took economic, political, technical, and environmental factors into account. With the scenarios as a starting point future challenges were discussed and research issues and questions were identified in an interactive process with stakeholders and researchers. Based on the outcome of this process, six socioeconomic and biophysical overarching challenges for future agricultural were formulated and related research issues identified. The outcome was compared with research priorities generated in five other research programs. In comparison, our research questions focus more on societal values and the role of consumers in influencing agricultural production, as well as on policy formulation and resolving conflicting goals, areas that are presently under-represented in agricultural research. The partly new and more interdisciplinary research priorities identified in Future Agriculture compared to other programs analyzed are likely a result of the methodological approach used, combining scenarios and interaction between stakeholders and researchers.

Research priorities

Studies of future

Global challenges

Food security


Ingrid Öborn

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Jan Bengtsson

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Fredrik Hedenus

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Lotta Rydhmer

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Maria Stenstrom

Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)

Katarina Vrede

Secretariat of the Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives

Charles Westin

Stockholm University

Ulf Magnusson

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)


0044-7447 (ISSN) 16547209 (eISSN)

Vol. 42 7 823-839

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences



More information

Latest update